The Employment Tribunals Service has published its annual statistics for the UK, detailing the number of various claims raised, outcomes and compensation figures in successful cases.
The most striking statistic is a 15% fall in the number of overall claims. This may be due to the fact that in an uncertain economy fewer people are willing to enter into litigation, viewing it is risky and expensive. It will also have been impacted by the fact that multi-claimant equal pay cases have increased the figures in previous years.
Employer-friendly measures have been implemented recently by the Government, in an attempt to drive down the number of claims, for instance, increasing the length of an employee’s qualifying service from 1 year to 2 years. Indeed, more changes are to be implemented soon, the most notable being that claimants are to be charged a fee to lodge a claim. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact this will have on the figures, given that they are already falling.
The fact that most claims are settled, either by ACAS or privately, is highlighted by the statistics; 42% of claims are settled by ACAS and 24% are withdrawn (the majority of which are probably privately settled).
Furthermore, of all unfair dismissal claims raised 10% are successfully defended at a hearing whilst only 8% are actually won by claimants.
When analysing the level of awards the largest by far was £4,445,023, in respect of a race discrimination claim, needless to say this is unusual, with the median award being £5,256.
The highest award in an unfair dismissal claim was £173,408. Although there is a cap of £72,300 it does not apply if the claim relates to whistleblowing or some types of health and safety related dismissals.
What the figures do not include is the cost to a business in legal fees and time taken to deal with any claim, underlining the importance of tackling problem employees as early as possible and keeping good records so that it can be relied upon at a later date.
See below for a more detailed breakdown regarding the level of awards.
If you would like to discuss any employment matters please contact a member of our team.